You’re forgiven for cursing the sun gods for the signature Delhi heat. But thanks to them, the long weekends of Dussehra & Diwali are beckoning you to ditch the sunscreen, lose the ice stock, drop your sun hat, and set out for a breath of fresh air.
Climb with me to the mountains on the roof of the world. I’ll walk you by gushing rivers. I’ll show you curious summits staring starry skies. I’ll float you to the depths of ancient seas. I’ll take you to the world’s highest inhabited villages. I’ll enchant you with blue streams in deep gorges. Won’t you come with me on a journey through Spiti, the most breathtaking valley in the north of India? 1. Mountain ropeway at Chichum. This is literally breath-taking. As an alternative to the long uphill walk from the village of Kibber to Chichum, the locals built an ingenious ropeway between two mountain peaks, over a deep gorge. The small open box on the pulley is used to transport men, cattle and raw materials, has no weight limits, and can’t be kind to your shoulders, though if you’re lucky, you’ll find someone on the other end to pull your ropes. The ropeway was built 5 years ago, and it has never yet collapsed. This local engineering feat is worth a ride for the …
As I awake from my slumber and look out the bus window, I’m transported back into a dream. Clusters of pine trees arise from amid the clouds and reach out to the Himachal sky. I instinctively turn left, but there isn’t anyone to soak in that view with. In my long battle with my parents on traveling alone, I forgot to think it might be intimidating. And intimidating it is.
I sit by a Stupa on an elevation above the shore of the Spiti River, shielding myself from the sun. It’ll be a good fifteen minutes before the ball of fire sinks behind the mountain range and relieves human skins. Such penetrating sun rays would make a great premise for a sunscreen advert, I muse.
Spiti is a land of legends. Every mountain peak and rock formation has a story lurking behind it, handed down by generations of Spitians. The most fascinating of them is one I heard from a local friend, of a mountain peak which changes colors a few times a day, reflecting the mood of the deity that inhabits it.
In the desert mountain landscape of the Trans-Himalayas, it’s easy to forget the color green. On my way to Komic, the highest inhabited village in the Himalayas, the unassuming village of Lhangza enchants me. Blue, green, brown and white are the predominant colors; the foremost of the clear sky, the latter three alternating among the bare, snow-capped & surprisingly green mountains.
I’m en route to Spiti and going through a “sometimes the journey is as beautiful as the destination” moment. The drive from Shimla to Kalpa can easily qualify the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh as the most beautiful state in India for a mountain lover.